Archive for the ‘Heidi Sampson’ Tag

Speech: Maine State School Board Member Heidi Sampson at No Common Core Maine Rally and Press Conference   2 comments

“On a daily basis, people are realizing for the first time the significant impact of Common Core and are becoming increasingly concerned. This is not another educational fad that will pass away. The people of Maine must become informed and let their voices be heard.” - Heidi Sampson, Maine State School Board

heidi sampson -2013-1529

It’s not just parents anymore. You can find local and state school board members, local and state superintendents, congressmen, senators, local and state representatives, principals and teachers who are speaking out against Common Core.

One such notable example is Heidi Sampson of the Maine State School Board.

Maine’s Bangor Daily News reported that the Maine Equal Rights Center and No Common Core Maine (co-founded by Maine State School Board member Heidi Sampson) have launched a citizens’ petition to repeal Common Core.

The effort will create a ballot question which will go to a November 2014 referendum if petitioners gather enough signatures. This is the first nationwide referendum to stop Common Core.

Already, a TV 5 Maine WABI poll this week found that, 85% of polled Mainers feel Common Core should be repealed.

Apparently, when a state school board member and countless parents begin to speak out against an unvetted education reform, people listen.

Read more of the news article here.

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Rally Speech

Heidi Sampson has provided the full text of her August 21 No Common Core rally speech, below. It was given Wednesday night in Augusta, Maine.

“Welcome to our first No Common Core Maine Rally.

My name is Heidi Sampson. I want to welcome you tonight. I welcome you as a mom; actually a homeschooling mom, a very soon to be grandparent and a concerned citizen.

I am one of the founders of NO COMMON CORE MAINE. I am also a member of the State Board of Education and the Maine Charter School Commission whom I do not represent tonight.

No Common Core Maine – is a grassroots organization made up of parents, grandparents, teachers, legislators and concerned citizens. We are an autonomous group united for the common cause of removing CC and it’s assessments from our schools. We welcome any and all who are interested and would like to come along side us and offer their support. We are not a mutually exclusive group however, we do stand
independently. With that being said, if you represent a specific group and you share our vision, talk to one of the NO COMMON CORE MAINE Team. You will see folks in the
audience with No Common Core Maine pins or T-Shirts on…talk to any of them should you have questions.

My life was pretty full even before accepting the governor’s nomination to the State Board of Ed. But since I have been given an ‘up close and personal’ view of the way things are working with respect to education in this nation and especially in this state, I cannot stand idle! So with this effort, my life is about the get a whole lot fuller!!

Folks, we as a whole are inadvertently being dragged unwittingly down a path that is destructive to the future of our children, our state and our nation! The price tag alone will bankrupt us, ruining the future for our children! The catch phrases that are neatly wrapped in appealing terminology, has set us off guard. We will be losing all
our parental rights from curriculum to privacy once Common Core is fully implemented next year! This is not something that is a fad in education…there are too many strategic
pieces in place to slam the door tightly shut.

The people of Maine have not been given the respect they deserve! There has been a deliberate effort by the proponents of the Common Core State Standards to bypass the
public, the legislature to a great extent in order to quietly lock this unpiloted, untested and significantly dumbed down agenda into place before anyone notices and wakes up to smell the coffee.

• People, do you believe in our state’s sovereignty?

• Do you believe in local control?

• Do we the people of Maine have a right to reclaim what has been stolen from us?

• Do we have a right to re-claim our children?

As a parent and a resident of this state – I am deeply troubled, actually – incensed by this whole movement!

What you see tonight is the beginning of a grassroots effort to nullify the Common Core State Standards and the entire tangled web this state has already entangled us in with
regard to the assessments. We intend to take this to the people of Maine, let them hear the facts….the rest of the story and then decide at the polls.

Do we have any teachers in the audience? [Several hands shot up.] Teachers – we support you!!

Teachers have become the fall guys to a system that is being destroyed from the top down. Teachers are being stripped of their profession being replaced by a machine that is going to determine their career future.

I just got this note from a wonderful teacher – a teacher of the year, actually:

“It’s always a pleasure and refreshing to hear your views. What you stand for is a strong belief of many (teachers), trust me. The belief I love the most is how you stand up for teachers and seeking that they are treated as professionals and not turned into a robot
or machine. I look forward to watching and following your rally on August 21, it should be very interesting to see what happens. … I enjoy the articles on facebook and the
website as you get to see the other views, instead of just the same information being forced down people’s throats

The plan to track teachers as well as the students they have taught is very troubling.

I have to confess that I wouldn’t have wanted any teacher’s career dependent upon my test taking abilities; I’d get bored and then try and figure out different designs I could make by filling in the dots. I actually figured out how to make a pine tree once and thought that was pretty cool. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has done that…just the only one who is will to admit it!

Where’s the human factor? It’s a human being who can inspire and motivate.

• It’s a human being who can show a child a world they have never imagined.

• It’s human being who can encourage a child to explore an area they at first might think not interesting, only to discover what makes them tick!!

• It’s a teacher who can connect with a child and give them a vision and a purpose!!

Did you know there are rules in the law to provide mentoring programs for teachers to help them to develop and become effective and inspiring?

Again, it’s the human factor that can make this great!!!

Empower, train, prepare and equip teachers to be excellent!

Guess what? There is no money to fund this simple effort.

The cost for this would be well worth it and would be minimal compared to the insane cost of paying for assessments.

However, instead of following laws that are currently on the books, this state has decided to make new laws (with really NO public input) forcing the state to spend over $4 million every year (way more than we spend now) forcing our children to take test created by a detached organization in California called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia.

We give up all local control for education – our sovereign right, btw! The teachers, the principals, the superintendents, the school boards will have neither say nor power to change any of it. Teachers’ futures hang in the balance. As I speak, droves of teachers are leaving their profession – utterly exasperated, frustrated and destroyed! This is a travesty!! Why aren’t they speaking up?

Even though we passed an anti-bullying law… I dare say those most victim to bullying now are the teachers!! What happens if they speak out? We are speaking for them!!!

Why can’t we have seasoned, experienced, knowledgeable teachers work with new teachers? There’s nothing like a dynamic, inspiring, motivating teacher engaging with their students. This will never happen with the computer directing their learning or determining their academic ability! Teachers should be allowed to exercise their skills and hone their profession like any other professional. They should not be relegated to simply being a mentor or a glorified baby sitter. This is insulting to a profession that used to be respected and treated with dignity.

So where do we go from here? I’ll give you a hint!

What is Maine’s motto? Dirigo = I lead!

That means we are the head, not the tail!

I say – stop experimenting on our kids!

Do we really need a center for ‘best practices’ – simply nice looking experiments?

Or do we want proven practices – practices that actually work and have worked over time!!!

It’s proven practices that will allow us to lead!!

We can lead!!

We can lead with better math standards, Maine used to be 5th
(back in 2001)! What happened?

I say – We can do that again!

We can lead with proven English Language Arts standards!

Massachusetts had them! They led the nation for 10 years and were truly internationally ranked! Now that they’ve adopted CCSS they are slipping in their ranks – hmmm that’s
interesting!

We can lead with proven practices!

We can do better!!! Our children deserve better – why limit their potential???

I tell you if you raise the bar and they will reach it!

They will excel!

They will lead!

We don’t need to listen to those who play word games using terms like internationally benchmarked, rigor and college & career readiness.

Experts say that just isn’t so!! Those words are nothing more than semantic deception!!!

We can just by-pass all that – chart our own course and set sail on the Highest Sea!

Become informed and share what you learn! They want us to be dumbed down… this is the antidote… GET INFORMED!

Check out our website: http://www.commoncoremaine.com

facebook – No Common Core Maine

We have a great line up of speakers for you tonight!

Detailed bios in packets

Jamie Gass- is Pioneer Institute’s Director of the Center for School Reform.

Erin Tuttle- is one of Two Moms Against Common Core from Indiana.

Christel Swasey is one of the 3 moms in Utah. Check out their website. It’s most impressive.

Erika Russell – Sidney, Maine, Mom and one of several folks responsible for bringing awareness about Mass Customized Learning in RSU18 – you may have read some articles about that whole issue.”

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Thanks to Heidi Sampson for sharing her speech and for showing exceptional courage and leadership in the movement to stop Common Core in Maine and nationwide, as a member of the Maine State School Board.

Without Authority: The Federal Access of Private Data Using Common Core   5 comments

Data Baby


On Wednesday, I gave this talk at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta, Maine. I spoke alongside Erin Tuttle, Indiana mother against Common Core; Jamie Gass, of Pioneer Institute; Heidi Sampson, board member of the Maine State School Board, and Erika Russell, Maine mother against Common Core. I hope to publish the other speakers’ speeches here soon.

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Speaking with legislators in Utah, I’ve learned that the number one concern that Utah constituents repeatedly bring up to representatives is the Common Core and its related data mining.

Utah has not yet followed the lead of Indiana, Michigan and other states in pausing and/or defunding the Common Core, but I believe Utah legislators will soon take a stand. They have to; the state school board and governor won’t, even though the Utah GOP voted on and passed an anti-common core resolution this year, and even though thousands of Utahns are persistently bringing up documented facts to their leaders showing that Common Core damages local liberties and damages the legitimate, classical education tradition that Utahns have treasured.

My talk today will explain how federal data mining is taking place with the assistance of the Common Core initiative.

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The Declaration of Independence states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed”.

So, I ask: Have voters given consent to be governed in matters of education, by the federal government? Nope.

Does the federal government hold any authority to set educational standards and tests, or to collect private student data?

Absolutely not.

The Constitution reserves all educational authority to the states; the General Educational Provisions Act expressly prohibits the federal government from controlling, supervising or directing school systems; and the Fourth Amendment claims “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”.

Clearly, the federal government lacks authority to search private data, to produce common tests, or to promote common standards, yet using private institutions, secretive regulatory changes to privacy laws, long-winded grantmaking contracts, and a well-intentioned governors’ club and superintedents’ club as smokescreens, it is overstepping its bounds and is falsely assuming these powers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is fully aware of these limitations placed upon his agency.

This summer Duncan made another speech, saying critics of Common Core were making outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t.”</strong>

I need to get that quote cross-stitched and framed.

For years, Duncan has been saying that, “Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more…”

Translation: Duncan and Obama won’t let pesky laws nor the U.S. Constitution stop them from their control grab even though they’re fully aware of the laws of the land.

Are they really collecting student data without parental knowledge or consent?

How are the Common Core standards and tests involved?
There are at least six answers.

The U.S. Department of Education is:

1. STUNTING STANDARDS WITH A PRIVATE COPYRIGHT AND A 15% CAP FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRACKING STUDENTS:

Why would the federal government want to stunt education? Why would they say to any state, “Don’t add more than 15% to these common standards.” ? Simple: they can’t track and control the people without a one-size-measures-all measuring stick. It is irrelevant to them that many students will be dumbed down by this policy; they just want that measure to match so they can track and compare their “human capital.”

The federal Department of Education works intimately with the Superintendents’ club known as the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). After the CCSSO wrote and copyrighted the Common Core standards –in partnership with the governors’ club (NGA)– the federal government put a cap over that copyright, saying that all states who adopted Common Core must adhere to it exactly, not adding any more than 15% to those standards, regardless of the needs, goals or abilities of local students. This stunting is embarrassing and most state boards of education try to deny it. But it’s published in many places, both federal and private: That 15% cap is reiterated in the federal Race to the Top Grant, the federal NCLB Waiver, the federal Race to the top for Assessments grant, the SBAC testing consortia criteria, the PARCC eligibility requirement, the Achieve, Inc rules (Achieve Inc. is the contractor who was paid by CCSSO/NGA/Bill Gates to write the standards).

2. CREATING MULTIPLE NATIONAL DATA COLLECTION MECHANISMS

a) Cooperative Agreement with Common Core Testers

In its Cooperative Agreement with the testing group known as Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) the federal government mandated that tests “Comply with… requirements… including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis… subject to applicable privacy laws.” Making student-level data available means that personally identifiable student information, such as name, academic scores, contact information, parental information, behavioral information, or any information gathered by common core tests, will be available to the federal government when common core tests begin.

b) Edfacts Data Exchange

Another federal data collection mechanism is the federal EDFACTS data exchange, where state databases submit information about students and teachers so that the federal government can “centralize performance data” and “provide data for planning, policy and management at the federal, state and local levels”. Now, they state that this is just aggregated data, such as grouped data by race, ethnicity or by special population subgroups; not personally identifiable student information. But the federal agency asks states to share the intimate, personally identifiable information at the NCES National Data Collection Model

c) National Data Collection Model

It asks for hundreds and hundreds of data points, including:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
– and even cause of death.

People may say that this is not mandatory federal data collection. True; yet it’s a federal data model and many are following it.

d) CCSSO and EIMAC’s DATA QUALITY CAMPAIGN and Common Educational Data Statistics

The Dept. of Education is partnered with the national superintendents’ club, the CCSSO in a common data collection push: common data standards are asked for at the website called Common Education Data Standards, which is “a joint effort by the CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.

Also at the same CCSSO site (remember, this is a private Common Core-creators’ website, and not a voter-accountable group) CCSSO we learn that the CCSSO runs a program called the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) with this purpose: “improve the overall quality of the data collected at the NATIONAL level.” – See more at: http://www.ccsso.org/What_We_Do/Education_Data_and_Information_Systems.html#sthash.L2t0sFCm.dpuf

The CCSSO’s Data Quality Campaign has said that
“as states build and enhance K12 longitudinal data systems they continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce and with other critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

Let that sink in: linking data from schools, medical clinics, and criminal justice systems is the goal of the USDOE-CCSSO partnership.

And it’s already begun.

There are state data alliances that connect data in state agencies, and there are federal data alliances, too. In Utah, the Utah Data Alliance uses the state database to link six agencies that enables examination of citizens from preschool through the workforce. On the federal level, the Department of Defense has partnered with the Department of Education.

3. PROMOTING CORPORATE DATA COLLECTION

Data-mashing across federal agencies and is not the only way in which data is becoming accessible by greater numbers of eyes. It’s also across corporate entities that data sharing is becoming more and more of a push.

At a recent White House event called “Datapalooza,” the CEO of Escholar stated that Common Core is the “glue that actually ties everything together.” Without the aligned common standards, corporate-aligned curriculum, and federally-structured common tests, there would be no common measurement to compare and control children and adults.

4. BUILDING A CONCEALED NATIONAL DATABASE BY FUNDING 50 STATE DATABASES THAT ARE INTEROPERABLE

Every state now has a state longitudinal database system (SLDS) that was paid for by the federal government. Although it might appear not to be a national database, I ask myself why one of the conditions of getting the ARRA funds for the SLDS database was that states had to build their SLDS to be interoperable from school to district to state to inter-state systems. I ask myself why the federal government was so intent upon making sure every state had this same, interoperable system. I ask myself why the grant competition that was offered to states (Race to the Top) gave out more points to those states who had adopted Common Core AND who had built an SLDS. It appears that we have a national database parading as fifty individual SLDS systems.

5. SHREDDING FEDERAL PRIVACY LAW AND CRUSHED PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIREMENT

There was, up until recently, an old, good federal law called FERPA: Family Educational Rights Privacy Act. It stated, among other things, that no one could view private student data without getting written parental consent.

That was then. This is now.

Without getting permission from Congress to alter the privacy law, the Department of Education made so many regulatory changes to FERPA that it’s virtually meaningless now. The Department of Ed loosened terms and redefined words such as “educational agency,” “authorized representative,” and “personally identifiable information.” They even reduced “parental consent” from a requirement to a “best practice.”

The Department of Ed formally defined the term “biometric” on a list of ways a student would be personally identified: “Biometric record,” as used in the definition of “personally identifiable information,” means a record of one or
more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be
used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include
fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.

For all of this, the Department has been sued.

6. RELEASING A REPORT PROMOTING BIOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL DATAMINING TECHNIQUES

In his speech to the American Society of News Editors this year, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that there is no federal collection of student data, and then he said, “Let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping. This work is interesting, but frankly, not that interesting.”

This was another attempt to mock those who are doing their homework, and to further deceive the American people. Because biometric data mining (biometric is defined by the Dept. of Ed as biological and behavioral characteristics of students –see above–) is exactly what Duncan is advocating. In the 2013 Department of Education report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance” the federal government recommends the use of data-mining techniques that use physical responses from biofeedback devices to measure mood, blood volume, pulses and galvanic skin responses, to examine student frustration and to gather “smile intensity scores.” Using posture analysis seats, a pressure mouse, wireless skin conductors, schools are encouraged to learn which students might lack “grit, tenacity and perserverance” in engaging with, or in believing, what is being taught.

Grit sensors

We can call the bluff on the Department of Education and on the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have no authority to gather private student data without parental knowledge or consent. We can help state leaders understand and fight against what is going on, and help them to say no to what the CCSSO terms their “coordinated data ask.” Strong legislation can be written and SLDS systems can be reworked to end privacy threatening interoperability frameworks.

Here’s a To-Do list for state representatives:

— We can stop the 50 states’ SLDS interoperability.

— We can make it possible for parents and students to opt out of the Common Core tests without penalizing the student academically.

— We can make it possible for parents and students to opt out of the SLDS tracking and surveillance databases.

— We can stop the educational and data mining malpractice that is clearly happening under the Common Core Initiative, remembering what Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University said: “When school administrators implement programs and policies built on faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice.”

We, the People, have to call them on it.

Maine Hosts Stop Common Core Rally and Press Conference This Wednesday   3 comments

Please come if you can, or spread the word if you have contacts in or around Maine:

On Wednesday, August 21st at noon, there will be a Stop Common Core press conference in Augusta, Maine, at the Capitol in the Hall of Flags led by Maine State School Board member Heidi Sampson.

There will also be a Stop Common Core Rally at 6:00 pm that night at the Governor Hill Mansion, Augusta, Maine.

I am excited. I get to participate in person.

Speakers will include Heidi Sampson, of the Maine State School Board; Emmett McGroarty, of American Principles Project; Jamie Gass, of Pioneer Institute; Erin Tuttle, activist mom from Indiana; and me– Christel Swasey, from Heber City, Utah.

The East Coast is suddenly exploding with new energy dedicated toward stopping Common Core and reclaiming education.

Last weekend in New York, we saw the tremendous, unprecedented example set by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rella of Comsewogue, NY, at his high school football stadium rally with parents against Common Core.

And now, Heidi Sampson, a member of the Maine State School Board, steps up to the plate, leading citizens of Maine to see the facts and take action against the damages of Common Core.

If you visit some of the parent-led websites on Facebook and elsewhere, representing states all up and down the East Coast, you’ll see No Common Core Maine, Stop Common Core of Florida and Stop Common Core of Georgia and Stop Common Core in North Carolina and Stop Common Core in South Carolina and Stop Common Core New Hampshire, and you will be impressed– Each site tells the same story: parents and educators are hosting increasing numbers of town hall meetings and informational presentations; on radio stations, in churches, in conference calls, in auditoriums, at State Capitol Buildings, and in their homes– all over, from Miami, Palm Beach, Rome, Greenville and Raleigh, to Concord, Alfred, Augusta, and more.

And in New York State, on September 21st, there’s going to be an important forum, put on by the parent-led Stop Common Core in New York State with grassroots activists, esteemed professors and think-tank professionals flying in from across the country to participate.

The big boys and their millions cannot, can not, stand up to the tens of thousands of Mama and Papa bears who are here to protect our children.

Common Core is going out. Liberty and local control are coming back. We the People are taking back the educational rights and privacy rights of our children. Count on it.

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